Archives for Uncategorized

Covid in the workplace

While a number of people see to be all hung up on the mandate aspects of COVID-19, it’s important to remember there is still a general duty to manage the pandemic related risks in workplaces. Below is a recent publication by Worksafe WA which outlines how certain controls sit within the hierarchy of reliability and effectiveness.

With the WHS commencing, don’t forget the hierarchy of controls becomes prescribed and a work related Covid infection requiring hospital treatment is a reportable disease to Worksafe. It’s not just the flu. It’s not just a public health issue. It’s also a workplace health and safety issue requiring care and attention.

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Handyman solutions often aren’t

We all know the dangers of how a home handyman can be more trouble than it’s worth. The video clip below shows one of many different versions seen in all industries.

Well, the HSEQ industry is no different. Yes some can do a great job themselves and other so called experts can be shockers.

If you’re doing it yourself, the product still needs to be workable and handle more than the brick wall in the video clip does. It might seem ok for now but remember the systems you’re building often only really get tested when it’s critical they work.

Just because they pass an audit or the client looks them over and accepts them for a tender, it does not mean they’ll work for what they’re intended for. For example, if a working at heights procedure passes an audit, but won’t help stop workers get injured from falls (e.g. it stops them no better than if you didn’t have it), then it was a waste of time having it in place. If it’s unworkable and you need to do something different to achieve the intent (not injured from a fall), then it wasn’t any good either.

So doing HSEQ systems yourself can definitely have advantages over many of the purchased packages, none less valuable than it being how you know and want a job done. But if you’re going to guess and do stuff that is how you think it is probably q meant to be done, then you’re likely at some stage to end up with some aspects as weak as this brick wall.

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Load restraint

The more employers we talk to in non-transport industries, the clearer it is that the understanding of Load restraint laws is lacking.

For example in Western Australia there are some who believe they only apply to road trains and transport companies, or still think it’s only the driver who is liable.

Well, as with them, can I suggest you’re likely able to influence transport more than you think. If you have work vehicles to deliver a service, order stores or parts that arrive by road, or produce a product that gets to its final home via road (even if it’s taken there by the customer), maybe review your risks and plan to manage them.

You’re likely expected to comply with the Load restraint guide (cited in the Road Traffic Regs in most states incl. WA), and chain of responsibility aspects too. Drop us a line if you want some more info.

It’s not as bad as it seems, and we won’t be getting you to tied loads down like the picture below.




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Hand tools are for hands

Our ubiquitous Stilsons appears to have claimed another life on a rig. Despite a whole lot of history, an organisation chose to do a job they knew was a roll of the dice.

Hand tools aren’t designed for applying mechanical force beyond what can be done by hand. Their handle lengths are used to calculate how strong they need to be so extending them or applying hydraulic forces are absolutely outside of their intended and designed use. Virtually every tool manufacturer clearly and explicitly communicates this if not on the tool, at least in the manual / user guide. Stepping outside of this is stepping into the liability zone should something slip up.

While there may be thoughts focussed on the individual’s decisions in the moment, in the scheme of things more often than not – largely irrelevant. It misses awareness of how these events could have easily been avoided. This would be via systems, not via behaviour. Behaviour doesn’t occur in a vacuum, but in the context of the work environment.

We worry about protecting our team members when they have a brain-fart or lapse of judgement, so we put comprehensive systems in place that reduce decision making. While in principle this is great, in practice it’s rarely applied effectively. Systems often aren’t quite done well enough and end up turning the brain off. OR they aren’t done right and the human ends up throwing the whole system out doing it their own way.

So in any tragic event, we should all look inside and investigate how it could have happened to us. Don’t look for why it can’t, but dig into why it might. Where could our systems allow someone to override them or ignore them? Where is the difference between life and death left to a single decision to step forward or to not step forward? Where are we left with a single control on our risk register of “Don’t have a brain-fart”?

Worksafe – Worker fatally injured working on drill rig

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Logic exists, really

There is often talk of society lacking common sense and logic now compared to previous generations, but I’m not exactly in agreement. Logic still exists, or we wouldn’t be building and buying safer vehicles, we’d not be spending more on cleaning products, medical supplies and health care.

The divide between those with logic and those without is not there now anymore than 50, 100 or 150 years before us. It’s just difference. Do we think our parents and grandparents weren’t saying the same thing about us? Do we think everyone before us was fine and everyone after us is failing? Are are that self centred and egotistical?

With changed lifestyles, upbringings and technology, there will certainly be differences, and this is especially noticeable as the speed of change increases. There are differences and focusing on why others are dumb, lacking in common sense or logic is a cop out. It’s harmful and shields us and those like us from the opportunity to learn and improve.

Yes, there will be some dumb technology glitches just like the image below. But do we think the horse advocates didn’t make jokes about why a horse would never catch fire or get flat tyres? These differences will remain ubiquitous and kidding ourselves that it’s new and not a normal part of society is taking away more value than it adds.

Why not harness the improvement opportunities instead of focusing on the teething issues that are normal when systems evolve. After all, there isn’t much downside in being positive?!

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A leadership lesson in ball tampering

As a leader, your influence can come crumbling down in seconds because of one fleeting moment.

If you’re asking your team to work safely or strive for zero harm or any other lofty HSEQ goal, are you living the same attitude as well? Or are you just working the acting game and playing a character. If you want to influence your team to truly make a difference in any part of the HSEQ realm, then walk the talk and let your actions speak for you.

Or one day, you’ll tread on an appendage and undo so much of your hard work to date.


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